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Allan C. Brownfeld, Editor
Special Interest Report
April 2023

Writing in Pressenza (Feb. 17, 2023), Yakov Rabkin, Professor Emeritus of History  
at the University of Montreal and author of “What Is Modern Israel?” assesses  
what he calls the “agony of liberal Zionism.”  
He writes: “The new (Israeli) government may destroy the last of the two  
illusions dear to liberal Zionists and instrumental in maintaining Western  
support for Israel. Over half a million settlers on the territories Israel  
conquered in 1967 killed the prospect of a two-state solution. It has been  
confirmed dead and buried, even though Western governments continue to pay it lip  
service. The current Israeli government is casting a death blow to the second  
one, that of a ‘Jewish democratic state.’ These two illusions have long been  
hiding the reality of Zionist supremacy over the Palestinians. Unlike the Tel  
Aviv protestors who decry the dangers to democracy, the Palestinians have long  
known that Israel’s democracy is, in fact, an ethnocracy to oppress them.”  
Rabkin, an Orthodox Jew, points out that, “Ethnic supremacy is basic to the  
Zionist project. It was enshrined legislatively in 2018 when the Knesset adopted  
a basic law proclaiming that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people,  
rather than a state belonging to the people who inhabit it. This law offers  
legal protection to the well-established practice of discrimination against  
Palestinian citizens of Israel, who constitute about one fifth of the country’s  
population. Respectable human rights organizations in Israel and elsewhere have  
concluded that Israel practices a form of apartheid.”  
Throughout the history of Zionism, Rabkin points out, “Anti-Semites have favored  
Zionism…The founder of political Zionism, Theodor Herzl, remarked that anti-  
Semites would be the Zionist’s ‘friends and allies.’ Zionist organizations in  
Germany welcomed the ascent of Hitler to power. In 1934 Rabbi Joachim Prinz, a  
prominent Zionist in Germany (and later in the U.S.) extolled ‘the end of  
liberalism’ in his book ‘Wir Juden’ (We Jews). SS officials were guests of the  
Zionist leadership in Palestine and returned to Germany with admiration. A  
commemorative medal with the swastika on one side and the Zionist Star of David  
was minted in honor of that visit. This episode is now widely known thanks to  
the Israeli documentary ‘The Flat.’” Anti-Semites in Western countries welcomed  
Zionism, Rabkin notes, as diverting Jewish immigrants to Palestine—-and away from  
their own countries.  
Prof. Rabkin concludes that, “Calls to expel all Palestinians from Israel and the  
territories it occupied in 1967 have become commonplace; these calls are now made  
conventionally by government ministers…What most of today’s critics ignore is the  
incompatibility of such institutions with exclusive ethnic nationalism. The  
extreme right now in power reflects the constitutive values of Zionism and is not  
shy to assert them…The current government undercuts the Illusion of liberal  
Zionism, a political oxymoron.” **

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